Uncorrelated Thoughts /kcv
A column by Atty. KCV
- Crisis Equals Opportunity
Crisis Equals Opportunity | In March 2020 the reality of lockdowns across the world sunk into everyone’s mind. I was in Metro Manila at that time and many were in disbelief at the new reality. It meant there would be no more nightlife. Regular mall activities would be suspended. Our commercial society would grind to a standstill.
A few weeks into the lockdown I posted on Instagram that everything has changed . . . forever. In saying this I was not being my pessimistic self. Weeks into the lockdown I realized the conventional wish of returning to normal was chimerical. It was a strange desire when one considers the economic damage that had been done to the country. Businesses were just not going to snap back into operation once the lockdowns are lifted. It doesn’t work that way. Peoples’ memories and trauma from this difficult time will stay with them years from now.
People expected a return to “normal” but there won’t be. The full consequences of government policies, of retrenchments of labor, of business closures, of mandatory quarantines, will be felt in years to come.
That the future will be different is something that’s baked in the cake. We don’t know what the future will hold, but we know that it will be different.
This crisis also brings new opportunities not only on the narrow business sense, but in our personal development. For most people, there will be no greater opportunity to eliminate bad habits and cultivate good habits. This is the best time to put their house in order, literally and metaphorically.
It takes just a little reflection to find that there are so many things within one’s control that could be improved – from habits to personal relationships.
For my part, I incorporated a real estate company and started my own independent law practice this year.
Don’t wait for the next crisis to rock your boat before you realize change – that you proactively bring about – can take you to the next level.
Kenneth writes about life and law. He is a lawyer Varona Law, a law firm that specializes in civil and criminal litigation, contracts, immigration law, and intellectual property law. He worked in Metro Manila for three years before starting his own law office Varona Law in 2020.
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- Faith & Finances with Rex Mendoza
Rex Mendoza, president of Rampver Financials, graced his wisdom to a group of young adults last August 28, 2020, via a zoom event on the topic of Faith & Finances.
The zoom event was organized by the Young Adult Ministry (YAM) of St. Alphonsus Liguori Parish of Brgy. Magallanes, Makati. We covered the general topic of personal finance, money management, and how it relates to the Christian faith.
Mr. Rex Mendoza is a highly sought after speaker on the topic of personal finance and it was great to hear him share his knowledge which I’ll share here along with my own personal reflections and understanding.
The Concept of Money and Wealth from a Christian Perspective
It’s important to get the concept of money right in its relation to one’s faith. There is a famous adage: ‘Money is the root of all evil’. But there needs to be more discussion surrounding money management and wealth accumulation.
Rex MMoney is not bad per se–It is the love of money that is evil.
- It is a means to an end
Money is a means to an end, i. It’s something we accumulate and use. Money is a necessary tool to be able to buy and sell goods and services and to accomplish certain life goals. Decisions made in acquiring and spending money reveal our values a lot more than the number attached to our bank account. Money is never the end goal.
- It magnifies who you already are
Just having money is in itself an unremarkable thing. Winning the lottery gives a temporary sensation of elation and spending that money gives pleasure. But by winning the lottery, you are just the same person you were before, just with a bigger bank account.
Rex makes the point that who you are – your character – is not fundamentally changed by the fact of having more money. An irresponsible person will not become responsible with the possession of money. He may be able to pay debts but this is a temporary fix for bad external circumstances. He will run into the same problem – getting into debt – if he does not change his character. Money only magnifies who you already.
Read more: Money with Purpose – Finding your WHY
- God is the source of all wealth
Rex believes that effort alone is not enough to become rich. You also need talent and opportunity. The amount of your effort is a matter of choice and discipline to follow through. But talent and opportunity are divinely ordained.
5 Bible Verses on Money and Wealth
The Bible is rich with passages on practical advice on investments and wealth.
- Save and Invest. There will come a rainy day. Strive for meaningful abundance.
Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. (Ecclesiastes 11:1-2)
- Optimize. To build, create and grow is a responsibility.
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. (Proverbs 10:4-5)
- Giving gives meaning to abundance.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful gGive, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- Giving creates a continuous flow.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)
- Tithe and Give. We can never outgive God.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (Malachi 3:10)
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops (Proverbs 3:9)
Most people earn income actively, by working a job.
Rex Mendoza advises getting passive sources of income. In addition to a salary income, you can get other streams of income. These passive streams of income are: profits, rents, royalties, interests, dividends,, and capital gains.
Publishing a book, for example, earns you royalties on book sales. Finding passive sources of income like royalties allows you to earn while you sleep. (Read: 8 Income Streams of Millionaires)
Think of ways where you can turn your savings into capital for money making investments.
Objectives of Wealth
There has to be a purpose to the acquisition of riches.
Waiting until you get rich to decide how to spend it is a losing game. In climbing from the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it often feels like a trivial exercise to think about a purpose for earning more money. Of course, it’s to put food on the table and secure the economic future for oneself and one’s family. We want to become rich to buy our dream car and our dream house and go on our dream vacation.
There’s nothing wrong with a big house and a nice car but chasing ambitious material goals for a long time can make us lose sight of what truly matters – our relationship with God and with other people. Even if you achieve the desired level of material security early on in life, early success can have its drawbacks because pride gets you searching for the “next thing.”
Know what truly gives you fulfillment.
Write down your life goals and what you want to achieve in the next few years, and within the decade. By setting goals you are able to keep your eyes on the ball and you’ll know how much is enough for you to be happy. By acquiring passive income streams you are able to (eventually) get off the treadmill of a salaried occupation and be independent of institutions, which can expand your perspective on the world.
Rex Mendoza also mentions legacy as an objective of wealth. Legacy includes how people remember you after you pass. Legacy is the ultimate in life planning because it takes into account what you leave others.
Read more: Money with Purpose – Finding your WHY
Q&A with Rex Mendoza
- What do you see are good businesses in the new normal?
Engaging in e-commerce or doing something online is a good way to make money in the new normal. Young people should take advantage of skills in the digital age.
Also Read: Investing and Earning During a Crisis
- What’s your view of the impact of artificial intelligence on the economy?
More and more functions of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) will be replaced by A.I. Workers have to re-skill so they can do higher value work.
It will be a good idea to work on your sales and relationship building skills which will also be valuable in the gig economy. Being not just good but great at your job means you don’t have to worry about being replaced by A.I.
- What do you think of investing in real estate?
The sellers in the primary market will be fine but the sellers in the secondary market are in trouble right now.
When it comes to pre-sale of property from condominium developers, for example, you can find good deals with longer payment terms.
Sellers in the secondary market find it hard to sell their property at a good price for them. Take advantage of opportunities when you find them.
- What do you think of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)?
REITs are a good way to invest in real estate without actually owning the title to the land. REITS are offered by companies like Ayala and Double Dragon and have only come out this year in the Philippines.
With Ayala REITs for example, it’s like you are entering the leasing business with Ayala as your partner. Ayala will manage the properties for you. You take part in the rental income that the Ayala properties generate.
Think of REITs as a hybrid between fixed income and stocks.
- How to earn more and save more money?
You need to have a financial plan. In terms of thinking of ways to earn more, I always ask people what they do in their spare time. Instead of watching Netflix, you can educate yourself on personal finance and start your own financial plan.
Similar to the advice given during the global financial crisis of 2009, crisis means opportunity because it pushes us out of our regular tracks. This is something frightening but can be a catalyst for learning new skills, working on sidelined plans, or finding opportunities that weren’t as obvious in more comfortable times.
Let us open our ears and our hearts to God’s voice speaking to us in seemingly precarious times. We all have a role to play in God’s plan and with the lessons learned, we will live a life of abundance, materially and spiritually.
Uncorrelated by KCV
Wealth and Money
- A Quarantined Birthday and Self Love Rituals
A QUARANTINED BIRTHDAY. I spent my birthday on lockdown.
I’m no special snowflake, this story hardly deserves headline real estate at all. An estimate of 20.8 million share my birthday(1), and more than 1/3 of the world’s population(2) or more than 3 billion people from 70 countries have been living under lockdown due to COVID-19. If we put together birthdays from Mid-March to end of June collectively–and divide that by a third, that means around 485 million people have spent their birthdays during the lockdown.
My quarantined birthday was unusual in many ways. I spent it in our condo; when on normal days I would spend it out of town. I watched a nature documentary; when on normal days I would be swimming in the sea. I received an unusually high number of homemade food deliveries from loving friends; when on normal days, Facebook greetings were enough.
I’d expected celebrating my dirty 30 doing something else–most likely walwal in a bar with my friends.
The world has other plans.
On my 30th year on earth, I treated myself–not with a shot of tequila–but with steaming hot masala chai; while praying that the lockdown would not be extended and things would get better.
Afternoon delight… in the form of chai
I am purposeful when I brew my tea. I boil hot water, add milk, add some spices: cinnamon, star anise, and saffron; and when the pot is simmering, I add Darjeeling black loose tea leaves for a few minutes before I pour it into an insulated metal teapot.
“That sure is a lot of work.” my mom said.
In normal times, I would just douse a Twinings teabag on hot water in haste. Or more accurately, I would just go to the CBTL downstairs our condo and order one chai latte to go.
But I have all the time in the world now. I’m not doing things just for speed, or convenience. I’m doing it with purpose… I have a body clock that attunes me that it’s time to brew my tea. It’s a self-love ritual.
And the end product, the masala chai, is my daily afternoon delight.
A couple of my friends have found their chi in kneading bread. Others found their peace in the form of homemade cold brew cocktails. My slightly overachieving friends, found comfort in daily circuit training practice at home.
Whatever the ritual you found, keep it. Make it your thing.
These little rites reaffirm us and nourish our soul, doing wonders to our mental health. These rituals remind us to appreciate the little things, to fill our senses, to appreciate day by day, and to be conscious of how we spend our precious hours.
Cebu City announced its ECQ will be lifted and GCQ will commence on June 1st. My birthday wish granted.
I hope when we’re back to the new normal, we won’t forget our self-love rituals.
We might not realize it, but these rituals had probably saved us.
Uncorrelated Thoughts by Rachel Arandilla
- What is My Vocation? How to Navigate a Quarter Life Crisis
“What is my vocation?”
It’s something that young people are afraid of answering. Similar to the question of “What do you want to major in when you go to college?” In high school you dread that question because you can’t really be fully informed enough to make such a decision at a young age.
You listen to voices around you as a young child. Your parents probably told you to choose a career that is financially stable and well compensated. They probably even suggested a few options.
Does doctor or lawyer sound familiar?
Influence of Parents
Deciding what career you’re going to have is a big life decision. It is something your parents are rightly interested in helping you with. But having a good career is just one part of the equation of living a flourishing life.
It’s not easy to talk about vocation and career. They are two different but related things. In many Asian contexts, the idea of vocation is unfamiliar. The idea that you choose something as serious as what to work on because of considerations other than what is good for your future and that of your family – in largely financial terms – that choice can seem suspect.
What you like working on, what you enjoy doing, is something that can be fleeting. We are all familiar with the feeling of excitement at starting a new hobby or an online course, only to have that passion for the subject fade after the summer and a few weeks into the online program.
Intuition is better than feelings. Intuition is a heftier, more solid concept. It’s not just feelings or what you like or enjoy. It’s something that deep down in your gut you know to be true about yourself.
Anyone can begin wanting to take karate classes after watching a the “Karate Kid” but fewer can have that intuition that they will be good at karate. This sometimes relies on a past history and awareness of strengths and weaknesses.
What Did People Notice About You as a Child?
We accumulate responsibilities as we age and have to satisfy other peoples’ expectations. Taking on responsibilities is part of becoming an adult. There are a million voices in society telling children what a respectable and responsible adult looks like. The voices of convention and authority are loud. They can drown out memories of what we were good at as a child.
Our core personalities and natural inclinations are formed long before we become adults. Sure, ten thousand hours of deliberate practice is the benchmark for mastery, but ten thousand hours starting at age 7 or 13 is quite different from those hours logged at age 25 or 30.
Did you notice your mom tell you you talk too much? That can be a clue. Were you chastised for being too argumentative? Or were your praised for being a good listener? Did you spend time after school drawing pictures or did you spend it playing sports? These questions can give important clues about natural abilities and inclinations.
If you think hard enough you might find you’ve already logged a few thousand hours on one part of a skillset that can help you make a living – and you did it all as a child or teenager, part of a natural mix of talents.
The Meaning of Vocation
We are already fully developed persons by the time of our mid to late twenties. It can, therefore, seem abstract to ask “what do I really want to do with my life?” as if it’s purely a matter of personal choice. The fact is we don’t have the power to completely start over and mold ourselves into whoever we want. It’s a romantic notion until reality rears its ugly head.
Maybe it’s better to ask “what am I called to do?” and “where am I called to be?” and that is really the meaning of vocation. It’s a word that is sometimes used in the context of following a religious path. But it’s something that implies that life events – whether good or regrettable – are connected in a meaningful way and embedded with a deeper purpose. These events that contribute to your formation are the voices that you should take time to hear and listen to.
It is a very worthy endeavor to clear the calendar, decompress and take time to hear and listen.
Much is made of “Eat, Pray, Love” type of soul searching. But nothing is more fulfilling than traveling and reaching the intersection of where you need to go and where you are most needed.
Read more about Finding your Purpose:
Love and Relationships
- Why I Stopped Hating the Quarantine
Why I Stopped Hating the Quarantine
Why I Stopped Hating the Quarantine | It’s easy to feel down while in quarantine. Few of us have had experiences similar to this period of isolation and staying at home. Sitting idly at home, staring at the ceiling; or staring at a screen can become a default way of dealing with this crisis.
At the same time, this crisis will pass most of us by as one huge missed opportunity. For most of us, this will be the only chance to change our habits for the better.
We are creatures of habit and our lives are defined by the finite games that compose it. School is a game with rules, i.e. studying hard leads to good grades. Our jobs are another such structure with written and unwritten rules of reward and punishment. Relationships also have written and unwritten rules that evolve according to where the relationship is heading.
We can complain about the government, the feeling of lack of freedom and agency, but what is really happening is the disruption of our daily routines and structures.
There is an upshot to this disruption.
We rediscover our sense of agency and ability to transform our lives.
So, instead of the tendency to buy coffee from Starbucks, I’ve found out that I can just brew coffee using a French press and find value in doing this at home. Instead of eating out, I’ve found out that I can improve my cooking skills. Become healthier by eating home-cooked meals. I am unable to physically meet up with people but I’ve come to realize the value of connecting with family and friends and a sense of belonging to a global community.
I can be tempted into pessimism and be critical of the government’s way of managing the crisis but I have also come to understand I have a long way to go to substantially improve just one unit of society – myself.
This pandemic has brought us to bear on the reality of life observed by Blaise Pascal: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
I stopped lamenting my loss of freedom when I realized that I was undervaluing its use.
This is an opportunity to live lives with less distraction but with more intent, whole-hearted acceptance, and ownership of our actions.
Let’s make the most of this quarantine period.
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